It's hard to argue against Adrian Peterson as the top pick in any fantasy draft. Is there anybody more valuable?
Photo: Zumapress / Icon SMI
Knowing who the best players are is obviously the first step in winning a fantasy football league. Just as important: knowing which top fantasy football trends are changing the game. Which types of players, which top strategies, and which popular tactics can help you 'Get The Edge' in 2013? An overview…
1. IS ANYONE MORE VALUABLE THAN ADRIAN PETERSON?
The easy answer has to be no. He went off for 2,000 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2012, so it's hard to argue against the powerful Minny tailback as the top pick in any draft. Then again, do also consider the following contenders for No. 1:
- Calvin Johnson
, WR, Lions. Like Peterson he broke 2,000 yards in 2012, and Peterson doesn't post much receiving yardage.
- Doug Martin
, RB, Buccaneers. Unlike Peterson, Martin puts up big receiving yardage while also producing great rushing totals.
- Arian Foster
, RB, Texans. Nagging injuries to his back and calf have some concerned but few teams run as much as Houston.
- Drew Brees
, QB, Saints. Few consider drafting a QB first overall but Brees may be a lock for 40 pass TD's and 5,000 pass yards.
- Cam Newton
, QB, Panthers. Like a QB and RB in one player: almost 4,000 pass yards and 741 rush yards in 2012.
2. ROOKIE RUNNING BACKS: RISING?
Last season several rookie quarterbacks became major fantasy factors, including Robert Griffin
III, Russell Wilson
, and Andrew Luck
. This year's QB class isn't nearly as impressive but the first-year running backs might be. They include:
- Le'Veon Bell
, RB, Steelers. Pittsburgh will still be a pass-first outfit but they have a keeper in new starter Bell.
- Eddie Lacy
, RB, Packers. Forget about the conditioning worries. He's a quality power back who should excel right away.
- Montee Ball
, RB, Broncos. Ronnie Hillman
is technically the starter early for Denver but Ball could soon be No. 1.
- Giovani Bernard
, RB, Bengals. Don't be shocked if Bernard steals BenJarvus Green-Ellis
' job sometime in 2013.
- Knile Davis
, RB, Chiefs. Davis should do a nice job backing up Jamaal Charles
and adds value on returns.
3. DRAFTING TIGHT ENDS EARLY: FALLING?
In the past couple of NFL seasons teams have followed New England's lead in featuring athletic tight ends as major offensive go-to guys. Should they still be drafted early? In a few cases, but many of the best are suddenly ones to avoid in 2013. Examples:
- Rob Gronkowski
, TE, Patriots. Gronk can dominate when healthy but he may not play half the season, coming off back and forearm surgeries.
- Aaron Hernandez
, TE, Patriots. Released after he was charged with murder this off-season, Hernandez may be out of football permanently.
- Jermichael Finley
, TE, Packers. Expected to be a top producer in 2012, Finley managed just two touchdowns for a great-passing Pack team.
- Antonio Gates
, TE, Chargers. Age and injuries have robbed once-formidable Gates of his ability to dominate games with athleticism.
- Fred Davis
, TE, Redskins. Many expected early stardom for Davis but so far iffy durability and off-field problems have kept him from it.
4. WHICH RECEIVERS ACTUALLY RUSH THE BALL?
Running backs are often more valuable in fantasy than receivers (wideouts and tight ends) for a simple reason: running backs get both rushing and receiving yardage, while receivers usually get just receiving numbers. That may actually be changing, as a handful of receivers might put up solid rush stats in 2013. They include:
- Tavon Austin
, WR, Rams. The rookie rushed for a whopping 647 yards last season for West Virginia, to go with his stellar receiving stats.
- Randall Cobb
, WR, Packers. Expected to play a bigger role in 2013 than ever before, Cobb posted 132 rush yards in 2012.
- Denard Robinson
, WR/RB, Jaguars. Rookie Robinson should have WR eligibility in many leagues and might be a big producer if Maurice Jones-Drew
- Dexter McCluster
, WR/RB, Chiefs. Sometimes a wideout and sometimes a tailback, McCluster also returns the football for KC.
- Jared Cook
, TE, Rams. The Nashville Tennessean suggests the Rams may use super-athletic Cook in the backfield at times in 2013.
5. OLD PASS-FIRST QB'S… OR YOUNG RUN-FIRST QB's?
Quarterbacks who can run the football are increasingly popular fantasy options, with the likes of Robert Griffin
III, Cam Newton
, and Colin Kaepernick
coveted. That said, do more traditional pass-first QB's still hold the most value? Worth considering:
- The NFL's top three offenses in 2012 (by points scored) were run by relatively immobile vet QB's: New England Tom Brady
), Denver Peyton Manning
), and New Orleans Drew Brees
- Brady, Brees, and Manning averaged 39.7 total touchdowns (pass TD's plus running TD's) and 4,888 pass yards apiece.
- None of the four QB's in 2012 who rushed for five or more TD's (Newton, Griffin, Kaepernick, and Andrew Luck
) managed 25 passing TD's or 4,500 pass yards.